Interview with Realmforge on Dungeons

We at Mana Pool are all looking forward to the release next year of Realmforge’s Dungeons, and we were excited to have the opportunity to ask them a few questions about the game!

As Dungeons is clearly influenced by Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper games, what are your favourite features of the Dungeon Keeper games and how do you intend to incorporate them into Dungeons?

The construction of your own dungeon with different rooms, the general mood and setting of the game were great features, which we want to fully embrace. We even went into more detail in the construction aspect and allow the player to place single items instead of fully furnished rooms.

Imprisoning and torturing heroes was also an “interesting” aspect which will also be available in Dungeons.

Dungeons Preview 7What are you least favourite aspects of the Dungeon Keeper series that you intend to improve upon/do away with in Dungeons?

Personally I was disappointed what little impact heroes had in the game. They never seemed to be a threat. Most of the time it was more a 1 on 1 against a different keeper.

Another aspect I didn’t like was entertaining my monsters. It seemed wrong to me, that I, the mighty Dungeon Keeper had to build training rooms, casinos, hatcheries and so on in order to keep my monsters happy. I even had to pay them. I didn’t feel like a mighty and evil dungeon keeper.

Hopefully, we changed both of these things for the better.

Whilst you have previously stated that multiplayer won’t be in the release version, do you have any plans/hopes to introduce it later?

Yes, the code is completely client and server based, so multiplayer is an option. It rather depends on our publisher, Kalypso. If they say “make it multiplayer” then we make it multiplayer! After all it depends on how well Dungeons is received.

Well we would strongly encourage Kalypso to go down the multiplayer route.  In our opinion it’s a must for a game like this!  On a similar note, will there be a map editor or random level generators in addition to the campaign missions? If so, can these maps be shared with the community and your friends?

We have a map editor but it won’t be in the initial release, because it’s simply not user-friendly. We plan to release it after some reworking. Of course sharing maps will be possible then.

Sounds great!  So moving on to the gameplay itself – how much control/influence will the player have over their minions?

Little, very little. Monsters in our game design are more for entertaining heroes than for attacking so they stay at their spawn point and wait for their demise.

Dungeons Preview 2Are there any RPG-like elements across the main campaign part of the game, e.g. will your Dungeon Lord become more powerful throughout or only through each level’s acquisition of Prestige/Soul Energy?

Your dungeon lord has attributes and skill points which he can raise during the campaign. So yes, you will become stronger and learn new spells as the game progresses.

Can you explain a bit more about Soul Energy, the items that can be created using it and how the whole system works?

The vision of Dungeons was to create a game that explains why Dungeons look the way they do in typical (Action-)RPG’s. Why is there loot lying around, why are the monsters only tough enough to be challenging, and so on.

In Dungeons the player tries to make a typical RPG dungeon and entertain the heroes. The happier the heroes are, the more beneficial it is for the player. This is represented by Soul Energy. With Soul Energy the player can buy prestige items. These have different positive aspects.

Prestige items increase the player’s prestige and prestige gives a bonus to his attributes. Also, heroes are impressed by those items and tend to stroll around in your dungeon and admire them. So you can use prestige items to have limited control about hero movement in the dungeon. Last but not least, they make your dungeon look much more impressive! ;-)

Can you give us some insight into the different hero types? How do they differ and does torturing different hero types in your dungeon have different effects?

Dungeons has three different levels, each of them looking very different. The first looks like an old tomb or catacomb. The second is inspired by Aztechian design. The third and last level is, of course, hell. Each of those levels features different heroes (and monsters) and of course they get mightier with each level. Heroes have different needs. For example the thief likes to disarm traps and find gold while the fighter wants to take damage from monsters (tank) and find new weapons and armours. The mage wants to hurt monsters (Damage dealer) and collect new wisdom.

Torturing them has no different effects at the moment, but we will think about it!

Dungeons Preview 1Great, it would be cool to see that having an effect in the final release! :) How did you come up with the idea of making Dungeons focused on the Heroes and their happiness rather than on the player’s minions?

As said before the vision behind Dungeons was to explain why dungeons look like they do in Action-RPGs. With this thought in mind everything fell into place.

We know that the goblins act as workers within the dungeon, but what about the other creatures? Do they have a function within the dungeon other than fighting with the heroes that you lure in?

They are mainly for entertainment of heroes but they also increase the area that is visible for you and your influence (where you can build). A couple of them can also defend your dungeon heart. But keep in mind, that they attract heroes, so this might be a disadvantage!

Monsters have special advantages and some are more fitting for a hero class than others.

What’s your favourite aspect of the game – the one you think will really attract people to play if they know about it?

The chance to be an evil dungeon lord and to create your own dungeon is what I like most. It’s fun to see those greedy heroes entertain themselves while lurking in the shadows and wait for them to become ripe …

What kind of hardware are we going to need in order to run our evil dungeon empire on maximum (or close to maximum) settings?

Maximum settings should need something like 2.6 GHz Dual Core, 3GB RAM, 512MB NVIDIA 9 or Radeon 4000 series.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions on Dungeons. The game looks impressive and we’re all looking forward to its release date!

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure to answer these questions! :-)

the author

A keen gamer since her parents bought her a NES at the age of 7, Zyle’s more recent gaming preference is for RPGs, Turn Based Strategies and Puzzle games. She’s pretty terrible at FPS and RTS but enjoys them all the same, and is currently avoiding MMOs due to a lack of time! Favourite game of all time: Ultima Online.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    Great interview Zyle – I really look forward to the release of Dungeons.

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  • Juusuhako

    Removing Training Room, Hatchery & Lair would make this game have nothing to do with Dungeon Keeper. Having your creatures just stand around, defending, while you create an even bigger army would make it really boring in lenght.

    The reason you had to keep your creatures happy and pay them in Dungeon Keeper was obviously because the creatures had volunterily joined your Dungeon from the portal(s), meaning they could as easily leave it again should you not at least make space for them, feed them and what not. This also gave you reason to train your imps for faster gold digging.

    And no, it did not make me feel less of a “mighty and evil dungeon keeper”, it gave me something to do while playing every level, giving me a challenge and making it that much funnier.

    Im gonna say it again; removing these 3 rooms while make this game a major change to the worse.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    I’ve not played the original Dungeon Keeper games in any depth – so please do correct me if I am wrong (Zyle/Alratan are the ones who know Dungeon Keeper much better than I do).

    It strikes me though that Dungeons focuses on fundamentally different gameplay and is only really in spirit comparable to Dungeon Keeper. People are obviously going to draw the comparison, but it would be good to see Dungeons by its own merit as they might get it right. (Equally, they might not but only time will tell.)

    Either way this will be a really interesting game to review as it could swing both ways.

  • http://www.zyle.co.uk Zyle

    I know what you mean Juusuhako; however ET is correct in that we’re not really looking at a Dungeon Keeper clone here. It looks like this game can be better compared to something such as Rollercoaster Tycoon in terms of gameplay; your main concern is keeping your “visitors” happy. Only the setting really seems comparable to Bullfrog’s original Dungeon Keeper releases so although Dungeons was quite clearly influenced by the DK series, I think comparing the two directly is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges. Which is a shame in a way, but I am actually really looking forward to this release. I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the concept.

  • rbtroj

    I have already ticked the “Auto-buy” checkbox in the area of my smallish brain that oversees my impulse control (or lack thereof).

    As much as I would adore a DK clone dressed in 2010 graphics, I am looking forward to what sets Dungeons apart from its spiritual … uh … antecedent? Er … what sets Dungeons apart from that of which it is the spiritual successor. Screw it – what sets Dungeons apart from DK.

    There.

  • Drew

    Looking foward to dungeons untill you Mentioned that you are not having training rooMs and hatchery and so on this is a big dissapointMent I Think Many people will agree i have been a big fan of DK2 and DK1 I Prefer DK1 But tbh it was aMazing. you have ruined the gaMe in My
    opinion taking out the fun of the gaMe i aM still buying the gaMe because its the closes thing to DK1 n 2 This gae looks great but please i beg u just go in and change u to change the training rooM and hatch becase the gae will get boring and rubbish just change and tweek the gaMe plz u have tiMe just delay we can wait everyone wants DK3 not Dungeons that all they have done is Made the gaMe worse u dont have to clone just like clone but add
    More features ur luck that there not aking DK3 you would not get any sales i hope u have a big think about the Mistake u have Made or fforced to stik with dk1 or dk2

  • Destroptor

    I only play Dungeon Keeper 2 for the multiplayer, so why in the world chose not to make a multiplayer in a game so influenced by Dungeon Keeper.
    If you have it all set and ready for multiplayer, why not just do it – make it multiplayer :)

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk Zyle

    I couldn’t agree more Destroptor! I really hope they decide to get multiplayer in before release.